Ukip leader says Britain faces ‘Romanian crime wave’ and coalition must address immigration to ‘save their electoral skins’
Ukip must brace itself for “a whole lot of smears” and “serious criticism” as it warns that Britain will face a worsening “Romanian crime wave” next year, Nigel Farage has said.
Speaking at the party’s autumn conference, the Ukip leader said the issue of immigration from new EU countries would dominate the political agenda in 2014.
He challenged David Cameron to address the “darker side to the opening of the door in January” or face voters turning to Ukip in the European elections because of dissatisfaction with Brussels.
“The campaign will be dominated by open-door immigration to eastern Europe,” he said. “If the coalition wants to save their electoral skins they must, before 1 January, tell Brussels that we will not unconditionally open our door to Bulgaria and Romania.
“That is my challenge to them. If they ignore it then we must turn the Euro elections into the referendum that we have not been given.”
Acknowledging he could be “seriously criticised” over the issue, Farage claimed that London is “already experiencing a Romanian crime wave”.
“There have been an astounding 27,500 arrests in the Metropolitan police area in the last five years,” he said. “Ninety-two per cent of ATM crime is committed by Romanians. This gets to the heart of the immigration policy that Ukip wants, we should not welcome foreign criminal gangs and we must deport those who have committed offences. Mr Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, are you listening?”
Concluding his speech, Farage told his audience in London: “We want our country back.”
Farage was mobbed by cameras as he made his way round the conference and was given a rapturous reception by his members.
During the speech, he tried to position Ukip as a party not of the left or right but one whose voters are “mostly in the middle” of the political spectrum.
He characterised typical Ukip voters as coming from “all parts of the spectrum” of British society and said they feel “fed up to the back teeth with the cardboard cutout careerists”.
Farage insisted the party opposes all racism and extremism but defended the right of his members to make “public pronouncements that I would not always choose myself”.
His comments came after the Ukip leader was on Thursday forced to brush off allegations of racism and “shouting Hitler youth songs” as a schoolboy.
The row broke out after Channel 4 News obtained a letter written 30 years ago by a teacher at Farage’s old school, Dulwich college. The letter to the master, written by Chloe Deakin, expressed concern Farage had been made a prefect despite reports of “publicly professed racist and neo-fascist views”.
Dated 4 June 1981, it said one of Farage’s teachers described how the schoolboy and others “marched through a quiet Sussex village very late at night shouting Hitler-youth songs” while in the cadet force.
Farage said any suggestion of singing Hitler youth songs was “complete baloney”, but admitted: “Of course I said some ridiculous things, not necessarily racist things.”
He told Channel 4 News: “It depends how you define it. You’ve got to remember that ever since 1968 up until the last couple of years, we’ve not been able in this country intelligently to discuss immigration, to discuss integration, it’s all been a buried subject and that’s happened through academia, it’s happened through politics and the media.”
It comes after the party took action against several members for posting controversial remarks on social media and a row over Godfrey Bloom, a Ukip MEP, referring to foreign aid recipients from “bongo-bongo land”.
See on www.theguardian.com